Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Mars Volta are really good; I'm not going to argue with that. They play their instruments with skill and talent and blend a wide variety of influences in a way that manages not to be jarring. They have managed to achieve fairly mainstream success with music that is difficult to say the least. I have a bunch of their songs downloaded on my ipod and whenever they come up in my shuffle, I enjoy listening to them. "What a clever band," I think, "incorporating samba into indie prog. Those adorably big-haired ingenues!" But the concert was a lot different from my ipod. The songs were longer and there was no fast-forward button. True, Cedric had happy feet the entire time and did interesting things with the mic stand, bizarre creatures decorated the backdrop, and their fros were nothing less than hypnotic...but without a controlled substance to see me through, I simply got bored. The endless guitar solos were like Carlos Santana on Viagra. Cedric's wailing was impressive, but it would've been even better if I could have understood the words. I felt exactly like I was at the opera, due in large part to the foreign language, period costume, long complicated songs, and refusal to just die already. I couldn't help thinking there was something I just wasn't getting, that if I would only put in a little more time and effort, I'd suddenly relish every second of the 2+ hour show...but the most I could manage was long periods of impressed staring between my multiple trips to the bathroom. Sadly, I think my contact with the Mars Volta will have to be confined to single songs on my ipod from now on; I'm already being forced to take Music Hum next semester, and I just don't have room in my schedule.